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HIGH MAINTENANCE, realness and empathy in one clean, ex vimeo comedy series

high-maintenance-realness-and-empathy-in-one-clean-ex-vimeo-comedy-series

High Maintenance began its life on Vimeo in 2012, as the baby of Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld. As things evolved and people realized the potential in the story of a GUY delivering the weed in NYC to a bunch of eclectic clients, the show made its way to HBO where it seems to be thriving.

Check out a few critical and enthusiastic voices below.

"Its endlessly nonplussed protagonist, The Guy (Ben Sinclair), was a weed dealer—a one-man door-to-door delivery service who bikes around Brooklyn’s changing neighborhoods toting a briefcase full of his product. That makes him a friend to many in need, but more than that, he’s an empathy sponge, a welcome stranger stumbling into the private lives of the stressed-out, and the habitually weird and lonely souls just looking for a soundboard. Because of its format, the show could be a brief comedy sketch one week and a muted personal drama the next.

In moving from its original home on Vimeo to HBO, and adopting a more traditional half-hour running time, High Maintenance could easily have lost the transmutability that made it so special. Instead, it’s gotten better: The emotions run even deeper, the comedy is more self-aware, and The Guy’s ensemble of customers are more richly characterized. New episodes call back to the show’s early days while happily welcoming new viewers on board, and they retain the surprisingly meticulous narrative arcs that knit seemingly disconnected stories together. Airing on Fridays at 11 p.m., the show seems destined to retain its cult status, but it deserves the widest audience it can get." (The Atlantic)

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"This wouldn’t be a hipster comedy, I guess, if I weren’t tempted at some point to say I liked it better back when I saw it playing a smaller venue. But success hasn’t really spoiled “High Maintenance,” even if, like its outer-borough haunts, it’s a little more well heeled. This is the same wry, peripatetic series at heart, a vision of urban life as a web of stories connected by wisps of smoke." (New York Times)

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"In general, storylines collide, characters intermingle, and the general weirdness of this city becomes beautiful to behold, as there’s a wider sense of perspective here than in years past, aided by a larger writing staff and new directors behind the camera (for the first time since the earliest web installments, Blichfeld and Sinclair don’t direct every episode, with “Newlyweeds” director Shaka Khan taking the reigns for episodes 3 and 4 of the season).

Perhaps the season’s strongest focus is found in the season premiere, “Globo,” which tracks a day in New York in which people wake up to discover “something bad happened.” What that “something” is never gets defined — not as mild as “Trump tweeted something moronic again,” but not so severe as a full-on terrorist attack — but we watch as the pressures surrounding this day have people turning to their vices to cope with the chaos. [...]

From the top down, this is a show that has such patience and empathy for its characters, even the most minute of roles, that it makes you want to get to know the people around you in real life better, open yourself up to their stories, discover their secrets within. Because while there might be unpleasant surprises, good things might also result. “High Maintenance” has its eyes wide open about the world, but it chooses to see the magic that exists in the mundane whenever possible. And there’s still a lot more humanity left to explore." (Indiewire)

"The HBO version of “High Maintenance” can’t quite keep up this format, but attempts to stay true to the original structure with 30-minute episodes that contain sometimes one, two, or three stories. The only constant is The Guy, who will always turn up at some point to graze the bubbles of the characters’ existence. But viewers from the web series will recognize several returning characters, such as Yael Stone’s free-spirited Beth and Dan Stevens’ cross-dressing Colin.

To Sinclair and Blichfeld’s credit, the HBO series presents its new season as one that can be appreciated by both first-time viewers and long-time fans. It builds on what’s happened before, but there are few inside jokes and veiled references — just the continued dedication to finding intimacy with these characters." (Variety)

Tags:   HBO, news, series, comedy, television, High Maintenance

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